Tree with trumpet shaped flowers

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Angel’s Trumpet, Brugmansia

It’s easy to see why the common name for the dramatic Brugmansia is angel’s trumpet. These sub-tropical beauties offer months of flowers and fragrance, all in an easy-care package.

Few plants have flowers as impressive and numerous as the brugmansia. Each trumpet-shaped bloom is up to 20cms long, all borne in massive flushes often every 6-8 weeks, set off by rain. In the peak of summer my own specimen can carry up to 500 blooms at one time.

It’s a spectacular sight, usually accompanied by the noisy hum of a million bees. As a bonus most brugmansias are sweetly scented, especially in the early morning and in the evening. Can you imagine the perfume of those hundreds of flowers at dusk? Then after a brief rest, the plant surges into another growth spurt producing another enormous flush of flowers. This pattern is repeated all through summer and autumn. As the weather cools the flushes are less regular.

A lively combo – golden yellow trumpets against magenta bougainvillea. Photo – Alistair Hey

Until recently few hybrids of this unique flower have been available. But due to the interest from some passionate collectors and hybridisers flamboyant and colourful varieties are now being released to home gardeners. We checked in with one of these growers, Alistair Hay from Meroo Meadow Perennials, to get the best tips on these gorgeous plants.

Position: Morning sunshine is perfect for good growth and flowering. Protection from strong afternoon sunshine and wind prevents heat stress and wilting of the flowers and foliage.

Care: Alistair says not to worry if your plant wilts in the afternoon, it will recover next morning. Not giving extra water when the plant wilts encourages deeper rooted and more self-sufficient plants. Contrary to its tender looks, brugmansia is quite tough. If your plant does need water, drench it deeply and infrequently.

Alistair feeds his brugmansia each winter with a blend of 50 per cent compost, 25 per cent cow manure and 25 per cent turkey manure. If he has time a repeat application is made in autumn. He says the main pest of brugmansia is two-spotted mite. He releases predatory mites into the garden to control the pest mite.

Brugmansias can be pruned as standards to accentuate their long trumpet flowers. If your plant has grown too big you can prune them when they finish flowering. We don’t prune ours much except to train the growth into one stem, removing any side growths at the base.

In pots: If you grow them in pots, you need to repot every year because they grow so vigorously. You can treat them as annuals because they strike readily from cuttings.

Angel’s Trumpet grow in pots, just keep removing any lower growth. Photo – Gettyimages.com

Classic Companions: Summer flowering shrubs and trees

– Frangipani is a perfect summer flowering partner for brugmansia. The pendulous trumpets of the brugmansia beautifully offset its simple flowers.

– The pretty lantern-like flowers of abutilon (Chinese Lantern) also complement brugmansia. Choose from lemon-yellow, orange, pink, cherry red or white varieties, depending on the colour of your brugmansia. Dwarf varieties of abutilon made a fine under-storey because of their compact growth habit and soft maple-like foliage. They enjoy the shade offered by the brugmansia.

– At ground level try various exciting forms of bromeliads. Neoregelia has a classic rosette shape with many hybrids having lovely coloured and patterned foliage. Vriesia bromeliads are all-time favourites with many colour forms, some with banded patterns on the foliage. Species of tillandsia love to cling to rough trunks and branches. Silver-leafed T. ionantha will grow in a clumping fashion on the trunks and branches of your brugmansia.

Remember: all parts of this plant are toxic. Don’t eat any part of it, or burn any part of it.

Top Tips

1. Manure manure manure! Brugmansias are almost impossible to overfeed, and the more you put in the more you get out of the plants. Any kind of manure can be used, but if you choose poultry pellets balance them by adding some garden compost as well.

2. If possible protect from hot dry wind. The leaves, flower buds and the flowers themselves are quite easily fried.

3. Don’t prune the plants unless there is some obvious need or you are training them to shape, and then don’t prune below where upright stems first fork otherwise you will delay flowering.

Plant notes: favourite brugmansias

Brugmansia ‘Clementine’

Apparently the first coloured, double brugmansia to be released in Australia, though there are more than 250 double-flowered varieties in Europe and North America. ‘Clementine’ has a delicious smell of orange and marzipan.

Special comments: Yellow and orange flowered angel’s trumpets are usually more strongly coloured in cooler weather.

‘Clementine’. Photo – Alistair Hay.

Brugmansia ‘Lipstick’

One of the best of the pendant, pink-flowered angel’s trumpets currently available in Australia. Earlier varieties had weak-textured flowers which wilted easily, but ‘Lipstick’ holds its form very well in hot weather. Like many pinks, it opens white first.

Special comments: pink brugmansias are generally more strongly coloured in warmer weather. The more you feed the better the colouring.

‘Lipstick’. Photo – Alistair Hay.

Brugmansia ‘Butter Bomb’

Flouncy, nodding flowers almost a foot across are produced in staggering profusion. Butter yellow in warmer weather, they a suffused gold in autumn. Brugmansia aurea (one parent of Butter Bomb) gives it superb, deep-green, quilted foliage, and it is a fine looking plant even when not in flower. The width of the flowers comes from its B. suaveolens heritage.

Special comments: Encourage the roots to grow deep into the soil with infrequent deep watering.

‘Butter Bomb’. Photo – Alistair Hay.

Brugmansia ‘Sea Nymph’

This a new hybrid has double cream flowers which gradually become suffused with pale apricot. It has a robust habit, dark quilted leaves and relatively small nodding flowers with long tendrils.

Special comments: Don’t prune unless you are training to umbrella shape, as hard pruning will delay flowering.

‘Sea Nymph’. Photo – Alistair Hay.

Brugmansia ‘Urchin Pink’

A new, small-flowered (only about 23cm long!) hybrid that grows to 3m with characteristic spreading branches from which the flowers hang very prettily.

Special comments: This variety is good for a container because of its pretty, branching habit. It’s a favourite of Alistair Hay.

‘Urchin Pink’. Photo – Alistair Hay.

Brugmansia ‘Signal’

This is a cultivar of Brugmansia sanguinea, a scentless, humming-bird pollinated species from high in the Andes. It’s a pure yellow form.

Special comments: B. sanguinea is very heat sensitive but can be successfully grown and flowered in cooler seasons in SA, Vic, Tas and S. NSW.

Brugmansia sanguinea Photo – Roger Hall/.com

Text: Sandra Ross

What a gorgeous tropical plant this plant is! The common name for the plant is angel’s trumpet and the botanical name is Brugmansia. One can almost hear the sound from the trumpet!

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Facts about Brugmansia

Brush up on your knowledge of brugmansia with these facts:

  • The plant is a tender perennial, hardy in zones 9-12.
  • Native to South Eastern Brazil and thought to be extinct in the wild.
  • Common name: angel’s trumpet
  • Botanical Name: brugmansia suaveolens
  • Family: one of seven species in the family Solanaceae
  • The leaves and flowers of brugmansia can be used to make medicines.
  • In spite of serious safety concerns, the plant has been used to induce hallucinations.
  • All parts of the plant are toxic when ingested.

“Creative Commons Angel’s Trumpet ‘Orange Cat’ (Brugmansia)” by Dave Whitinger is licensed under CC Attribution-Share Alike 3.0

The trumpet-like flowers seem ready to send out music at any moment!

Datura flower is similar to angel’s trumpet and from the same family

Differences between datura and brugmansia

The plant is not to be confused with datura, which also known as Devil’s Trumpet. The flowers look similar to Brugmansia and both are from the botanical family Solanaceae.

While the two flowers look similar, the flowers of datura are erect, while those of brugmansia are pendulous.

Brugmansia is also more woody rather than shrub like. Brugmansia can grow up to 10 feet in height, while datura generally tops out at 4 feet tall.

Tips for Growing Angel’s Trumpet:

If you have the right hardiness zone, angel’s trumpet makes a wonderful outdoor plant. Here are some growing tips.

Sunlight needs for brugmansia

Angel’s trumpets prefer full sun, but they will tolerate some partial shade in the hottest part of the day.

For best blooms be sure to give the plant lots of sunlight.

How to Prune Brugmansia

Pruning is essential to get the most number of flowers. Most brugmansia plants are trimmed into a tree shape in the way that this brugmansia Brugmansia arborea has been pruned.

Begin pruning where the plant forms its first “Y.” It is best to prune the plant in the fall.

In temperate climates, the previous years growth will die back. Leave them in place until spring when you see new growth starting to take place.

At this time, you can cut back the old growth.

When to plant brugmansia

For plants growing outside in the ground, wait until the temperatures warm up to the 70s before planting. Be sure that you have it in the ground by the middle of the summer.

The roots will need to be well established before the first cold season.

Colors of Brugmansia

The plant comes in a variety of colors. Some are solid colored like the Orange Cat Variety shown above and others have more than one color in the blossom.

Find brugmansia in many shades from white, peach, pink, orange and yellow. Flowers can grow up to 20 inches long, and are very impressive.

Many of the blooms seem to have a spectrum of color like this peach variety which blends from almost white to peach.

The plants bloom in late summer into the fall. The large flowers on both plants open at dusk, releasing an intoxicating scent that attracts night-flying pollinators in search of their nectar.

Propagation of angel’s trumpet

Angel’s trumpets are grown from seeds sown directly in the soil or get new plants for free by propagating the plant from cuttings.

*Tip: for colder climates, where you can’t bring the plant indoors in winter, take cuttings and root them and replant in the spring to have the plant growing each year.

Plants grown from seed will not flower until the second season.

Water and Fertilizing Requirements for brugmansia

The plant likes to be kept evenly moist. Plants grown in containers may need to be watered twice a day during the growing season. It is easy to see if you are not watering the plant enough because the large leaves of the plant will droop.

The plant also likes feeding every 2-3 weeks during the growing season.

Switch to a high phosphorus plant food right before blooming.

The plant likes well draining soil. Adding compost or organic matter at planting time is beneficial.

Toxicity for Brugmansia

Like many tropical plants, brugmansia is toxic. The seeds and leaves are the most poisonous part of the plant. The older plants have a higher level of toxins.

All parts of the plant are poisonous. Be especially careful not to grow it where small children or pets are active.

It is a good idea to wear gardening gloves when tending to or pruning angel’s trumpets. After working near the plants, don’t touch your eyes or mouth until after washing your hands.

The toxicity of brugmansia comes from several tropane alkaloids which can lead to delirium and other effects.

Affects of ingesting brugmansia: bloating, rapid heart rate, hallucinations, blurred vision and even respiratory failure in severe cases.

Diseases and pests

The plant is susceptible to aphids and white flies. It can also develop root rot if watered too often.

Fungal issues that might affect brugmansia are fusarium and verticillium wilt. Both of these diseases enter the plant through the roots and travel up the stem. They block the ability of the plant to use water and can cause stunted growth and wilted foliage;

Powdery mildew can also be a problem. Treat it with Neem oil at 2 week intervals.

Bacterial leaf spot happens in high humidity. It appears as brown spots surrounded with a yellow halo on the leaves. Good air circulation will help to keep it away. To treat, remove all affected leaves to stop the infection.

Hardiness Zones for brugmansia

It is said to grow in zones 9-12 and is happiest in zones 10-11

In colder zones it is best grown in a pot so that you can bring it inside to weather over the winter.

Even though the plant is a tropical and may need to be grown in posts in colder climates, it is worth it to try to get a show of flowers like the one above!

Have you had luck growing Angel’s trumpets? Do you have tips to share for your zone?

For more tips on growing Brugmansia – Angel’s Trumpets, check out Brugmansia and Datura by Hans-Georg Preissel from Amazon.com.

Where to buy brugmansia

When you head out to purchase angel’s trumpet plants, do it early in the year. This will allow the plants to become well-established by the time the first frosts hits.

  • Several varieties of brugmansia on Etsy.
  • Pink angel’s trumpet on Amazon.
  • Buy brugmansia at Plant Delights Nursery (They have some that are hardy to zone 7b -YAY!)

Pin these brugmansia growing tips for later

Would you like a reminder of this post for growing angel’s trumpet? Just pin this post to one of your gardening boards on Pinterest so that you can easily find it later.

Admin note: this post first appeared on the blog in August of 2014. I have updated the post with all new photos, a printable project card and a video for you to enjoy.

Active Time 30 minutes Total Time 30 minutes Difficulty moderate Estimated Cost $20

Materials

  • 1 Brugmansia plant
  • Organic Matter or compost
  • High Phosphorus fertilizer

Tools

  • Watering can or hose.

Instructions

  1. Plant brugmansia before mid summer to make sure that the roots are well established.
  2. Give it plenty of room to grow. The plant can get 10 feet tall.
  3. Be sure to give it full sunlight.
  4. Organic matter at planting time helps.
  5. Blooms at dusk in late summer.
  6. High Phosphorus fertilzer at blooming time results in better flowers.
  7. All parts of the plant are toxic.
  8. Hardiness zones 9 and above (some varieties will grow overwinter to zone 7b and above if protected and mulched.
  9. Propagate by cuttings
  10. Prune into a tree shape in the fall.

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a small commission from the sale, but the price is the same for you. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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The Brugmansia with the common name Angel’s Trumpet is a semi-tropical flowering shrub that grows as a bush or a tree.

They are woody plants with large, fragrant pendulous flowers and they are show-stoppers.

When people first encounter the beautiful purple trumpet flowers they usually their jaws drop in awe of the exotic 10″ inch long flowers and powerful lemon scent.

Brugmansias are a perennial member of the Solanaceae / Nightshade Family (Calibrachoa -aka million bells) hailing from South America where they have been cultivated for thousands of years as both an ornamental and a medicinal plant.

Under the right conditions, they can grow outdoors year-round and reach impressive heights of over 30 feet. The highly poisonous foliage of the plants make them deer-resistant.

There are seven different species along with a “cousin,” known as the White Trumpet Flower – Datura.

While these two types of plants are related, they differ in that Datura is a smaller, herbaceous bush. Additionally, its flowers stand upright rather than hanging from the branches of the plant.

Although considered extinct in the wild and listed on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, they have successfully naturalized in many warm climates, such as Asia, Australia, Africa, and North America.

They have been a popular ornamental plant in these countries for about 200 years. Horticulturists go to great lengths to care for them even in the coldest climates.

In this article, we will share information about Angel Trumpet plant care, cultivation, and propagation. Read on to learn more.

Is The Brugmansia Tree Poisonous?

Yes! Brugmansias are toxic plants! Every part of the tree and its seeds are remarkably poisonous.

They contain hallucinogenic alkaloids that produce violent and unpleasant (or even terrifying) hallucinations, along with convulsions, difficulty breathing, and sometimes death.

Though the leaves, stems, and angel trumpets seeds do not seem to be appetizing to wildlife, it is always wise to keep these plants out of the reach of children, pets, and adventurous teenagers.

Is It Ever Safe To Use Medicinally?

Although angel trumpet plants have traditionally been used medicinally in South American cultures, it is a hit-and-miss business.

By all accounts, there is no safe dilution of the hallucinogenic alkaloids found in Angel’s Trumpet.

The levels of tropane alkaloid present vary from plant-to-plant and from season-to-season, so it is always unpredictable.

Even small amounts can produce a trance-like state that completely separates the victim from reality. Self-injurious behavior is common.

Side-effects and warnings raised by experts for homeopathic use of Brugmansia include:

  • Fever
  • Respiratory weakness
  • Audio-visual disassociation
  • Intense thirst
  • Changes in blood pressure
  • Increase ocular tension in narrow-angle glaucoma patients
  • and more.

Handle These Tropical Trees With Care!

Remember both Brugmansias and its cousin, Datura which also bears the name devil trumpet or datura metel, are poisonous. You are unlikely to experience ill effects unless you ingest it, but it is wise to wear gloves when handling these plants and to wash up once your chores are done.

Avoid contact with injured skin, eyes, and mucous membranes, and never ingest any part of the plant. See a doctor in case of plant poisoning.

Why Do People Choose To Keep Trumpet Trees?

Quite simply put, these “deadly” members of the Solanaceae family are enchanting. In all varieties, their trumpet-shaped flowers are quite large and showy.

The flowers vary in size from a few inches across and about six inches long to twice that. Most are strongly aromatic, but the scents can vary from one type to another, and there is at least one unscented variety (Brugmansia sanguinea).

Brugmansia Flowers Come In A Dazzling Array Of Colors

The below list shows the range of flower colors.

  • Orange
  • Yellow
  • Green
  • White
  • Pink
  • Red
  • Emerald
  • Purple

New colors and color combinations in both blooms and foliage are always under development.

Brugmansia has a strong, lemony scent; however, it can vary slightly from one variety to another with some types being sweeter and more cloying, while others are more tartly scented.

Most angel trumpet vine varieties open and emit their luscious scent in the evening as a way of attracting pollinating moths. The unscented Brugmansia sanguina is the exception. This red, unscented flower opens during the daytime to attract hummingbirds for pollination.

Pink angel plant differs as it falls under the malodorous type. They grow in USDA hardiness zones 9 – 13, propagates from leaves, stem cuttings and crowns, and possess toxic elements in their leaves.

Angel Trumpet trees are beautiful to look at, and the scent of their blossoms can literally fill your whole neighborhood, apparently to the delight of one and all.

How Many Species Of These Fragrant Plants Are There?

There are seven basic Brugmansia plant varieties along with an ever-growing number of hybrids. The wild species all originate on the slopes of the Andes; however, none are classified as truly wild in this day and age.

Brugmansia Arborea

Brugmansia Arborea with seed pod – Image: Tom Hulse – Wikimedia.org

This variety comes from the Andes (Ecuador to northern Chile). It can take the form of a small evergreen tree or shrub when well-kept; however, left to its own devices, it can attain a height of 23 feet. It has oval leaves with coarse, toothed margins and a fine, velvety down that also covers the stems, flower stalks, and fruit.

The flowers range in color from pure white to slightly creamy. They are deeply fragrant and range in size from about 5” to about 7” in length. They are the smallest of all Angel Trumpet blossoms.

Brugmansia Aurea

Burgmansia Aurea – image: Kurt Stüber – Wikimedia.org

From the Andes (Venezuela to Ecuador). This angel trumpet plant variety is sometimes called Golden Angel’s Trumpet. Until 2014, the golden angel is listed as being endangered in the wild, but it has since become extinct in the wild. This variety of Brugmansia can grow to be about 20 feet tall. It produces fragrant white or yellowish blossoms.

Brugmansia Insignis

Brugmansia insignis – via wikimedia

It comes from the foothills of the Eastern Andes (Brazil and Colombia to Bolivia). This is a smaller trumpet variety that reaches a maximum height of about 13 feet. Its narrow flowers come in both white and pink and are marked by attractive tendrils.

Brugmansia Sanguinea (Red Angel)

Brugmansia Sanguinea (bicolor) – image wikimedia.org

This angel trumpet plant type can be found from northern Chile to Columbia. This red variety is relatively odorless and blooms during the day. It uses its red color flowers to flowers to attract hummingbirds as pollinators. It also comes in other brilliant colors, such as green, orange, and yellow. This is a small bush with heights ranging between 4 feet and 12 feet.

Brugmansia Suaveolens

The brugmansia suaveolens type is a sweet, wild variety that grows in southeastern Brazil. This smallish variety (10’-16’) produces bounteous numbers of large, very fragrant white flowers that are sometimes called “angel’s tears.” The flowers can grow to be over a foot long and are sometimes seen in pale yellow or pink; however, white is the usual color.

Brugmansia Versicolor

Brugmansia versicolor – image:Wouter Hagens via Wikimedia Commons

This smallish variety from Ecuador usually attains a height between 10 and 16 feet. The leaves are oblong with smooth edges. The giant flowers can attain a length of almost two feet. At first bloom, they are white, but sometimes they transition into shades of apricot, peach, or pink.

Brugmansia Vulcanicola

Brugmansia Vulcanicola – Image via wikimedia

This type of angel trumpet can be found in the Andes from Colombia to Ecuador. These small trees or shrubs attain a height of thirteen feet. They produce smallish (6”-9”) brightly colored flowers in shades of red, pink, and yellow.

In addition to these seven basics, there is an ever-increasing number of hybrids. Collectors can often boast having over two dozen different varieties. During the past two decades, many interesting traits have been developed, including creamy white edging on leaves of deep green, double blossoms, and variegated foliage.

What Is The Best Angel Trumpet Tree Growing Zone?

Although these plants are only entirely hardy in USDA zones 9-12, they are quite popular throughout the United States.

Many people keep them in the far northern states and in Canada. In these settings, their season for growing is very short.

Winter care of Angel Trumpet plants depend greatly upon your setting. If you live in Canada or the northeastern United States, you must bring them indoors as houseplants or to go dormant.

Another option is to take cuttings to grow indoors in the wintertime. This will allow you to enjoy them as a small leafy houseplant through the winter and start fresh with all new plants in the springtime.

If you live in a climate that doesn’t freeze or only has light frosts, you can leave your Brugmansia outdoors year-round.

They do especially well in southwestern, coastal settings such as the coast of southern California, where they make up vast and gorgeous gardens in public parks and arboretums.

When Do Angel’s Trumpets Bloom?

In southwestern states and in the tropics, these enchanting shrubs produce richly fragrant blossoms throughout the spring, summer, and autumn.

In very cold climates, they will bloom through the two or three summer months when they are allowed outdoors. They do not typically bloom when kept indoors.

They tend to bloom in waves, so you may find that you have a tree full of blossoms for a few days, and then they will all fall at once. Take heart! Subsequent flushes will soon follow.

The blossoms are short-lived (one or two days). Trim them off promptly when they begin to fade to keep your bush or tree tidy and stimulate more blossoms.

Because these trees do tend to throw down a lot of spent blossoms, they can be considered a bit “trashy.” Keep blossoms swept off walkways for the best appearance.

You may wish to leave them in place in your garden angel trumpet bed, though. They decompose very quickly and feed the soil.

How To Prune Brugmansia Trees

There are several different ways to prune this plant depending upon the desired results. If you want a shrub-like plant, you can leave the lower limbs in place and trim the tips of the limbs to create a bushier effect.

If you want a tree, you should lop off the lower limbs completely as the plant grows. This is a task you must stay on top of because the plant will continue to try to send out low-growing branches no matter how tall it becomes.

In both instances, you can create a fuller and bushier appearance by trimming back half of the “Y” formation of the limbs.

As the plant sends out new limbs, you will see that each ends in a fork. Trim back the upper prong to cause thicker and more abundant growth.

These plants produce blooms on new wood, many continue to prune throughout the season.

Give a thorough pruning early in the springtime to shape the plant. Cut back old branches to about half-an-inch above growing nodes.

Watch your plant closely and trim it lightly and frequently to limit height, stimulate blooming, and encourage thicker, lusher growth.

In autumn, you can cut the plant back to a foot above the base before over-wintering.

Don’t worry about overdoing the pruning. Brugmansias are rapid and enthusiastic growers.

Even if you buy a small potted plant, you can expect it to attain a height of six feet or more in its first year growing.

If you over-winter the plant, it will gain more and more height as the year progresses.

Even when brought indoors to winter in dormancy, the plants can reach a height of 12′ feet just in the span of a few warm months outdoors.

What’s The Best Way These Tropical Trees?

There are several ways to over-winter Brugmansia. The method you choose may be dependent on a few factors including the amount of space, time, and physical strength you should contribute to the project.

Brugmansia are easy to find at garden centers and nurseries, and many people just treat them as annuals and replace them every year.

If this is not acceptable, here are four good ways to keep your Trumpets from year-to-year.

Keep Mature Plants In A Dormant State

While it is possible to keep a mature Brugmansia as a gigantic house plant in the winter, it is better to prune the mature plants back sharply, pot them closely, and allow them to go dormant in a cool basement or garage at temperatures ranging between 35° and 45° degrees Fahrenheit if you wish to keep mature plants from season-to-season.

It’s best to bring the plant in after the first frost but before the first freeze. When you do this, you will find the plant easier to work with because all the leaves and flowers will have dropped. You can cut the limbs back to about a foot high.

After pruning, dig up the plant and trim back the root ball to coincide with the size of the remaining limbs. Over-winter the plant in a container just big enough to accommodate the root ball.

Once you’ve placed your plant in its winter container, bring it indoors to a dark, cool place that keeps a constant temperature of 35 to 45 degrees Fahrenheit.

Water it occasionally throughout the winter. The soil should be just slightly damp. Never allow it to dry completely as this will kill your resting plant.

Keeping Huge Fragrant Flower Trumpets As A Giant House Plant

Begin by trimming your Brugmansia to a size and shape that will fit through your door. When you plan to keep your plant alive as a house plant or in a greenhouse through the winter, go for a tall, slim silhouette by cutting back most side branches and keeping two or three upright central branches.

Even with vigorous pruning, your Brugmansia will need a great deal of space, consistent heat, and plenty of light through the winter. It will need a large container to stay alive and do well.

Caring for Brugmansia indoors through the winter isn’t especially hard. Treat it like any indoor container plant by keeping it lightly watered and watching out for whiteflies and other typical indoor pests. Even so, bringing a huge plant indoors and living with it through the winter can be rather trying.

Before you embark on this massive undertaking, you should know that your plant is unlikely to bloom or thrive through the winter when kept like this. That’s why it is better to over-winter mature plants in a dormant state.

Over-Winter Your Trees Via Propagation

Collect cuttings for rooting purposes throughout the spring and the summer or at the end of the growing season.

Indeed, many people do this and start fresh new plants through the winter instead of bringing the parent plant indoors.

Cuttings grow into attractive house plants quickly, and these plants make lovely gifts at the holidays.

When you choose to sacrifice the parent and begin fresh with new plants grown from cuttings, you can enjoy your Brugmansia as a manageable houseplant through the winter and keep it on the smallish side through the growing season.

This method of carrying Trumpets forward from one year to the next also eliminates quite a bit of backbreaking labor.

There are so many easy options for propagation that you really needn’t be bothered with difficult digging and hauling these massive plants in-and-out-of-doors unless you simply can’t stand the thought of allowing the parent plants to die back over the winter.

Several Ways To Take Angel Trumpet Cuttings

You can get several “log cuttings” from a single limb. To do this, cut the limb into sections 5-8 inches in length. Each section should have three or four nodes on it.

Using a plant rooting hormone dust (at Amazon) each cutting and plant it shallowly with the nodes facing upwards in pre-moistened potting soil in a plant saucer or tray.

Be sure to keep the cuttings at a temperature of about 72 degrees Fahrenheit. You can achieve this by covering your cuttings loosely with plastic wrap and/or making use of a heat mat. Monitor the temperature carefully as you don’t want your cuttings to get too hot.

If you think all of this sounds like too much trouble, take heart. While these careful preparations will surely yield excellent results, the fact is simply placing the cuttings in a sunny window in a consistently warm room may be all that’s needed.

New plants will sprout from each of the growing nodes. Once these are well under way, you can separate the log at intervals and repot your new plants into their own pots for the winter.

Keep them as houseplants at a consistently warm temperature with ample natural or artificial light. Because Angel’s are a tropical plant, it appreciates ample humidity. You can provide this by placing your potted plants on a layer of gravel in a tray with an inch or so of water. The water does not need to touch the bottom of the pots. Its purpose is to provide ambient humidity.

Place Cuttings In Jars or Vases of Water

You can also grow Brugmansia from cuttings by placing the cuttings in jars of water. You can do this with leafless log cuttings or with cuttings that still have foliage.

Be sure the cuttings you choose have nodes to produce new growth. Place the cuttings in a jar or vase of pure, filtered water in a warm, well-lit area. Change the water every few days to prevent rotting.

When your cuttings begin to grow roots, plant angel trumpets to a container of well-draining potting soil with a bit of granular fertilizer.

Try Air Layering

This interesting method of propagation allows you to save the top half of your parent plant while still reducing its size significantly. When you do this, you can bring the parent plant in for the winter, leaves and all, and cut its stump down to the ground outdoors.

Try covering the stump and surrounding area with a heavy layer of mulch through the winter. If you’re very lucky, the parent tree may grow back. If not, you’ll have a spare!

See this interesting video for detailed instructions on air-layering.

Growing Brugmanias From Seeds

If you don’t have access to young plants or cuttings, you have no choice but to grow from seed. This can be challenging because it can take a long time.

Brugmansia seeds can take from two weeks to several months to sprout, so if you don’t see results right away, don’t give up in despair.

To grow Brugmansia from seed, you would follow standard seed-sprouting protocol. Begin by soaking the seeds overnight in warm water to soften the outer hull and hopefully create a split that will help the seed sprout faster and with greater ease.

Prepare a seed tray or small pots with pre-moistened, well-drained potting soil or seed-starting mix. When planting, take care not to bury the seeds deeply. They need exposure to light to germinate. You can either press them gently into the surface of light, airy soil or cover them very lightly.

Sow the seeds indoors early in the springtime. Cover the trays or pots with plastic wrap and keep them in a warm (65-70 degrees Fahrenheit) place with good natural or artificial light. Keep them carefully at temperatures of 60-70 degrees Fahrenheit.

Germination should take 2-4 weeks, but sometimes it takes much longer. If all goes well, you should see results in a couple of weeks, but remember to be patient.

Months could elapse before your plants emerge. Just keep your hopeful plants warm and provide them ample light and consistent moisture.

Growing Brugmansia from Seed – Angel’s Trumpet

Is It Better To Grow Angel’s Trumpet From Seeds Or Cuttings?

It is quicker and easier to grow Angel Trumpet flower tree from cuttings. Although these plants are extinct in the wild, the fact is Mother Nature has equipped them to naturalize and spread quickly and easily. They are vigorous growers and send out masses of adventurous roots.

When you prune your Brugmansia, you can grow multiple new plants from each limb you cut off. Whether you simply stick the cut limb into a container of well-drained potting soil or put it in a jar of water, roots will begin to grow within a couple of weeks.

If you throw your Brugmansia cuttings into your compost heap, you are likely to see new plants springing up shortly if the weather stays warm.

Preparing Your Trumpets To Go Outdoors In the Springtime

No matter how you keep your Brugmansia through the winter, you will want to transplant it carefully and reduce transplanting shock to outdoor living in the spring.

A few weeks before all danger of frost has passed, you can begin getting your Brugmansia ready to go outdoors.

Transition it gradually to going back outdoors. A few weeks before the last frost, you’ll want to repot your Brugmansia and move it into a warm area with good natural or artificial lighting. Increase watering gradually.

If you have kept a mature plant in dormancy, it may look dead when you retrieve it from its resting place. But if you look closely, you will surely see some small, pale green shoots at its base.

The stems will have died back some over the winter. Scrape the stems gently with a sharp knife blade in a few locations to locate green growth underneath. Trim off dead branch ends as needed.

When you unpot your Brugmansia after winter storage, you are sure to find it root bound, but don’t let that worry you. Massage the roots with your fingers to loosen them up.

Trim off excess roots and repot your Brugmansia in rich, fresh, well-drained potting soil with plenty of water and balanced granular fertilizer. Place your repotted plant in a warm, sunny area of your home to begin its recovery.

Once your plant has started growing, after dormancy, remember to fertilize weekly. A balanced, fish-based liquid fertilizer is a good choice.

No matter how you have kept your Brugmansia through the winter, as the weather warms up, allow your plants to sit outdoors in the sunshine for a few hours at a time over a period of several weeks before transplanting them to your garden or setting their pots in their summertime locations.

Watering & Fertilizing Angel Trumpets

Brugmansias are thirsty, hungry plants. Keep the root ball evenly moist throughout while growing outdoors.

Water over-wintering plants lightly about once a week while dormant.

Check houseplants frequently. Keep the soil moist or damp. As with all houseplants, you don’t want to over-water because this may cause root rot, but you should not allow the soil to become dry between watering. This is very hard on Angel Flower and may kill them.

Water outdoor plants regularly. If it is extremely hot and dry where you live, you may need to water every day. One way to help your plant retain water is to sink its pot into your garden soil. Alternately, you may wish to sink it into a larger container of soil. This provides it some insulation and prevents rapid evaporation.

What Is the Best Fertilizer For Flowering Trumpets?

Angel Trumpets are heavy feeders. Producing masses of large, showy, highly scented flowers consumes huge amounts of nitrogen. You can use a standard balanced slow-release fertilizer for flowering plants on Brugmansia, but you must apply it very generously.

Be sure to plant using a well-draining potting soil rich in mature organic compost. Fertilize weekly with a liquid 20-20-20 water-soluble fertilizer, or apply a top-dressing of dry fertilizer weekly.

If you are anxious about over-fertilizing, you can simply use rich compost or choose a balanced fertilizer for flowering plants, and follow the instructions on the package. Most successful Brugmansia growers say that these plants need about twice the amount of fertilizer required by other types of flowering tropical plants.

The difference between Angel’s Trumpet that gets standard fertilization and one that gets ample fertilization is apparent. These tough plants can survive well on standard fertilization, but they will not thrive and bloom abundantly. Look into this Brugmansia, Datura (Angel’s Trumpets) Liquid Fertilizer.

Pests And Diseases

Snails & Slugs

Seedlings and new growth are subject to predation by slugs and snails. Sprinkle the ground around tender young Angel’s Trumpets with diatomaceous earth on a regular basis to discourage soft-bodied slug and snail garden pests and provide a little boost of calcium and silica.

Spider Mites

When kept indoors, Brugmansia are subject to infestation by spider mites. To prevent this, be sure to wash plants or cuttings with insecticidal soap and rinse them clean before bringing them indoors. Keep an eye on them and treat them as needed indoors to keep these pests under control. While they may also cause a problem outdoors, it is less likely.

Caterpillars

Some caterpillars eat Brugmansia because they can convert the plant’s poisonous alkaloids into a natural defense mechanism to repel predators.

Naturally, you do not want caterpillars eating away on your Angel’s Trumpets, but you also don’t want to kill off potential butterflies.

Planting a butterfly garden nearby and perhaps equipping it with a few cast-off Brugmansia may help solve your problem.

Just pick the caterpillars off by hand and relocate them when you see them or try using bacillus thuringiensis (bt).

Where To Keep Your Brugmansia For The Most Enjoyment

Brugmansia does well in a sheltered setting with ample sun and fertile, well-drained soil. It likes a slightly acidic soil, so be sure to strive for a pH level of 6.5-7.

These semi-tropical plants like full sun; however, if you live in a hot, dry, desert area, partial shade is appreciated. Steady, dappled sunlight is beneficial, so they do well when planted as an understory for taller trees.

Remember that all but one variety of Brugmansia blooms at night, so be sure to place your plants in a location that will allow you to enjoy them to the fullest.

Placing your plants on a patio and/or near windows that will be open at night allows their delicious fragrance to waft into your home.

Brugmansia, also called “Angel’s Trumpets” for the magnificent flowers shaped like trumpets, is a very interesting and ornamental shrub.

Basic Brugmansia facts

Name – Brugmansia
Family – Solanaceae or nightshade
Type – flower shrub

Height – 6 ½ to 16 feet (2 to 5 meters)
Exposure – full sun
Soil – rich enough

Foliage – evergreen
Flowering – May to September

Brugmansia care is easy as long as it doesn’t freeze in your area.

Planting Brugmansia

It is best to plant your brugmansia in spring in a blend of earth, soil mix and conditioner.

  • Find a place in your garden that is protected from wind, but gets a lot of sun.
  • Refer to our guidelines on planting shrubs.

It’s possible to sow in a sheltered place starting in March and put in place in May.

If you live in an area where winter freezing is very cold (lower than 23°F (-5°C)), consider growing your brugmansia in a lean-in or transfer them during the coldest months to a spot where it doesn’t freeze.

Pruning, and caring for brugmansia

Pruning at the beginning of spring should push your brugmansia to grow more dense and trigger beautiful blooming.

Brugmansia can bear pruning well, so it can be quite drastic.

Take note to protect your hands when pruning this shrub, because its leaves and stems contain high levels of alkaloids that are very poisonous.

Watering and adding fertilizer to your brugmansia

Water regularly, but not too much in times of high temperatures and spread mulch out at the foot of shrub over winter.

Adding special rose tree fertilizer is particularly adapted to growing brugmansia. Dilute it in water and apply in every other watering during the growth period.

Brugmansia cuttings

Brugmansia cuttings are very easy to prepare.

  • Provide proper substrate, light and well-draining. Stores and shops sell cutting or seedling soil mix, which is perfect.
  • Collect a brugmansia cutting just above a bud.
  • Plant the cutting in soil mix.
  • Keep the cutting in a well-lit place at about 70°F (20°C).
  • Sprinkle water on a regular basis to keep the substrate a bit moist.

Before planting the cutting in the soil mix, you can also try dipping the cutting in powdered rooting hormones, but if you don’t have any it should still work fine.

Learn more about brugmansia

Origin of Brugmansia

Brugmansia was discovered by botanists Alexander von Humboldt and Aimé Bonpland when they scoured across South America at the beginning of the XIXth century.

It is thus native to the Andes, but it can also be found in the wild from the Antilles to Oceania.

This magnificent shrub with remarkable blooming produces abundant and fragrant trumpet-shaped flowers.
It originated in the warm climates of South America and tends to have trouble adapting to places where it freezes often.

Difference between Brugmansia and Datura

You can tell Brugmansia apart from Datura by looking at the flowers: brugmansia flowers hang down whereas datura flowers face upwards. Also, brugmansia tends to grow into shrubby shapes, whereas most datura varieties are rather herbaceous plants.

  • Easy tips to catch differences between datura and brugmansia

Smart tip about Brugmansia

Add small quantities of organic fertilizer often during the blooming to enhance it.

Credits for images shared to Nature & Garden (all edits by Gaspard Lorthiois):
Peach colored brugmansia by Mabel Amber under license
White brugmansia blooms by Valentina Tetelman ★ under license

Angel’s Trumpet

Brugmansia spp.

Angel’s trumpet is a spectacular drama queen in the garden, with huge, sweetly-scented blossoms suspended from its branches.

This exotic shrub puts on a fantastic show, blooming on and off all year, more in warmer weather.
With flower colors in shades of pink, peach, yellow and white, the lily-like blossoms can be up to 12 inches in length.

They can float over a walkway or above smaller plants like a floral “chandelier.”

Place these shrubs near areas where you can enjoy their beauty and the fragrance of the blossoms.

An angel’s trumpet plant can be trained to grow as a small tree, with single or multiple trunks.

These shrubs contain toxins (they belong to the Nightshade family of plants – which includes tomatoes, believe it or not, which actually have poisonous leaves).

When you handle a brugmansia, wear gloves if your skin is sensitive – or at least avoid the urge to rub your eyes.
This plant can be dangerously toxic if ingested, so we recommend planting angel’s trumpet in a side or back yard – or any area that’s not easily seen from the street. Young people have been known to use the flowers to get high – with disastrous and even deadly results.

Also avoid planting in areas where pets and young children might come in contact.

Plant specs

Part sun to part shade seems to be what this shrub likes best, though it does just fine in a full sun location.

This is a moderate grower that can reach 10 feet, though you can keep it 5 or 6 feet tall.

An angel’s trumpet plant does best in Zone 10. If you live in Zone 9B, you can grow it in a container to bring inside when temperatures drop.

It’s evergreen unless winter is harsh, so place in an area sheltered from wind.

Plant care

Add top soil or organic peat moss to the hole when you plant. You can also add composted cow manure to the mix to enrich the soil.

Cut back the plant for size in spring (late March or early April). Trim lightly after each bloom cycle (during warm months) for fuller growth and more blooms.

Water on a regular basis, allowing the plant a bit of time to dry out between waterings.

Fertilize 3 times a year – spring, summer and autumn – with a good granular fertilizer. Supplement feedings, if you want, with bloom boosters like bone meal and/or liquid fertilizer to promote more flowering.

Plant spacing

Place these shrubs 3 or 4 feet apart. Come out from the house 3 to 4 feet.

If you’re growing it as a tree, allow 5 feet between it and the next large plant.

For placing along a walk, come in 4 or 5 feet.

These make excellent plants for growing in large containers.

Landscape uses for angel’s trumpet

  • single yard specimen
  • accent plant
  • backdrop for small plants
  • along the edge of a deck or patio
  • anchor plant for a garden bed
  • lining a walkway
  • on each side of a garden gate

A.K.A. (also known as): Angel Trumpet, Datura (an incorrect botanical name but a relative of Brugmansia)
GOOD SNOWBIRD PLANT? MAYBE (if you’re here during fall and spring and have year-round irrigation)
COMPANION PLANT SUGGESTIONS: Cat palm, variegated ginger, tibouchina, golden pothos, white bird of paradise, hair grass, heliconia, petrea vine, and dwarf oyster plant.

Other plants you might like: Buddleia (“Butterfly Bush”), Yellow Elder

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How to Grow and Care for Angel’s Trumpets Plants

Growing Brugmansias in Pots and Planters

Brugmansias grow and bloom easily in large (minimum 12″-15″) planters, but they may not produce as many flowers as if they are planted in the ground.
They should be planted in a good, commercial potting mix.
In cold winter areas, the planter should be brought back indoors during the fall and winter months.

While indoors, some people choose to continue growing their Angel’s Trumpets as a foliage house plant by keeping it in a warm, sunny location and continuing to water it as the soil dries out. Don’t expect your Brugmansia to bloom while it is in the house, though.

A few weeks before you can move your Brugmansias back outdoors, you can start to bring it out of dormancy by repotting it if necessary and moving it into a warm area with bright light, and increased watering. This is a good time to prune your Brug, to encourage bushy growth or limit size. Do not move your Brugmansia back outdoors until night time temperatures will remain above 50°. Allow it to acclimatize to outdoor living by gradually increasing the amount of sun and wind exposure it receives.
Container grown Brugmansias need a lot of water and may need to be watered daily, especially in warm weather.
Feed every 2-3 weeks with an all-purpose fertilizer while actively growing or in bloom.

Pruning Angel’s Trumpets Plants

Brugmansia plants bloom on new wood so they can be pruned anytime you want to shape but it takes about a month or more for blooms to appear after pruning, so most growers choose to prune them very early in the spring.
Brugmansias can withstand hard pruning and can even be cut back to within a foot of the base if desired. Primary pruning involves cutting back any older branches to ½” above a node. This will encourage additional branching.

Light trimming of older growth throughout the growing season will encourage additional blooms.

Methods of Propagating new Brugmansia Plants

Propagating with Cuttings

The fastest and perhaps the easiest method of propagating new Brugmansia plants is with softwood tip cuttings taken in the spring or summer. Be sure to keep the correct end of the cutting pointing ‘up’!
Once the cutting has a good strong root structure, it can be gradually moved into the garden or it can be planted in an 8″ pot, and moved into full sun. Allow the plant to become rootbound before replanting in a 12″ or larger planter.

Multiple plants can be started from a single cutting by a method known as Log Cuttings.
This is a good way to recycle plant parts that were discarded while pruning!
Cut portions of the stem into 5″-8″ segments containing at least 3or 4 nodes.
Dust the cutting lightly with a rooting hormone.
With the majority of nodes facing upwards, press the cutting into the surface of moistened, commercial potting mix or a mixture of peat moss and vermiculite, mounding the mix half way up each side of the cutting.
Create a mini-greenhouse with a frame of cut wire coat hangers and clear plastic over the cutting bed to increase humidity and to keep the soil from drying out. Keep your cuttings at a minimum temperature of 72°F.
After several shoots have grown to a couple inches tall, you can separate the individual plants, using a sharp, sterile knife.

Growing Brugmansias from Seed

Home harvested Brugmansia seeds are covered with a thin, pulpy coat that must be removed prior to planting. The peeling is easy to remove when the seeds are fresh, but you may have to soak older seeds for a while to get the skin off.

Brugmansia seeds require light for germination, so just barely press them into the surface of the growing medium.
Sow Brug seeds indoors in early spring. Maintain a temperature in the growing medium of 60°-70° until germination, which takes 3-4 weeks. Do not move seedlings outdoors until night temperatures are above 50°.
Seed grown Brugmansias will not bloom until their second season.

Angel’s Trumpets


Brugmansia aurea

Brugmansia ‘Frosty Pink’

Brugmansia candida

Angel’s trumpet

Angel’s trumpet, (genus Brugmansia), genus of seven species of small trees and shrubs in the nightshade family (Solanaceae). Angel’s trumpets are commonly grown as ornamentals in frost-free climates and in greenhouses, and several attractive hybrids have been developed. The plants are sometimes confused with the annual herbaceous plants of the related genus Datura.

angel’s tearsAngel’s tears (Brugmansia suaveolens).© Lochstampfer/Dreamstime.com

Angel’s trumpets were once native to South America, but all species are now listed as extinct in the wild by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. The species Brugmansia arborea, golden angel’s trumpet (B. aurea), B. insignis, red angel’s trumpet (B. sanguinea), B. versicolor, and B. vulcanicola were variously distributed in the Andes region of South America, ranging from Colombia to northern Chile. Angel’s tears (B. suaveolens) was native to the Atlantic coast of southeastern Brazil. Several species have become naturalized in various temperate and tropical locations around the world.

Angel’s trumpets are evergreen plants with many branching trunks and are typically less than 8 metres (26 feet) in height. The simple leaves can be toothed or entire and are alternately arranged along the stems. The large pendulous flowers have a fused trumpet-shaped corolla and can be white, cream, yellow, orange, red, pink, or greenish in colour. The flowers of some species can reach up to 50 cm (20 inches) in length. Most species are fragrant at night and attract moths for pollination, though the red angel’s trumpet lacks scent and is pollinated by hummingbirds.

red angel’s trumpetRed angel’s trumpet (Brugmansia sanguinea) in flower.Far Out Flora

All parts of angel’s trumpets are considered poisonous and contain the alkaloids atropine, scopolamine, and hyoscyamine. Ingestion of the plants can cause disturbing hallucinations, paralysis, tachycardia, and memory loss and can be fatal. Various species were used both ritualistically and as herbal medicine by indigenous peoples and their shamans, particularly in the northern Andes.

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